Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Are we legally separated if we're going through a divorce?

Many people do not understand the difference between a divorce and legal separation. Both the situations refer to the couple deciding not to live together anymore. Divorce and legal separation are completely different in terms of law.

Divorce:Divorce is the final termination of marriage that cancels the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage. In case of divorce, the bonds of matrimony between married persons requires the sanctions of the judges. After the divorce is granted, both the people can remarry.

Legal separation:Legal separation refers to a court order that acknowledges that a couple is no longer living together. This order resolves all the issues regarding the marriage. Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it may end staying of a couple together. A legal separation is a form of a legally binding consent decree and hence is also termed as judicial separation. The order pertaining legal separation outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they live apart. The most common reason to seek legal separation is to make arrangements as to who will pay what bills, property, financial support, etc.

In case of children, there are temporary arrangements for the care, financial support and custody of the children. The court order for legal separation is a document of child custody.

In case of legal separation, the partners remain married to each other and cannot marry somebody else. Legal separation does not lead to divorce and the couples have a chance to reconcile. In case they do not want, reconciliation, they can further proceed with the divorce.

Benefits of legal separation
  1. Couples get time apart from conflict of marriage to decide if they really want divorce
  2. In case of some religions, divorce is a taboo. In these cases, legal separation allows the couple to live separately and retain the marital status for religious beliefs. Hence many a times, legal separation is also called as legal catholic separation.
  3. The couple can enjoy medical benefits as a family and other benefits which cannot be taken in case of a divorce.
  4. In case of military spouse, the couple may wish to remain married at least for 10 years to take the advantages of benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.
  5. Certain Social Security Benefits are available only if you are married for 10 or more years
  6. In case of divorce, legal separation agreement can be converted into a divorce settlement agreement.

A couple is not divorced when they are legally separate. Legal separation never means divorce and it is an arrangement in which the couple prefers to stay separate. In this case, the marriage is very much intact and this arrangement is just a legal way of sharing responsibilities, while the couple enjoys the benefits of marriage.

A couple divorced can be said to be separated legally. In case of a divorce, all the matters of legal separation are also handled and it is an end to the married life. Divorce is the final step and can be said as an advanced step after legal separation.

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